Ah, September. A month full of changing leaves, weather that isn’t absurdly hot or cold, warm drinks, and… less writing time because of school.
We all know that once the school year starts, it takes up everything. If you guys are anything like me, you lock yourself in your room once you’re home and slave over your homework for hours, only leaving to go pee, and wishing you had the chance to spend time slaving over a manuscript instead. Or maybe you want someone else to write with in the flesh and blood.
If you have a true writing buddy IRL, awesome! I’m jealous. That being said, there are plenty of us who don’t have that. Or maybe we want to connect with more writers our age, but we don’t have that much time outside of school to search for a writing group.
Guess what? There’s a way around that: maybe you can start a creative writing club! Yes, you!
Trust me, it’s possible. I’m a hot mess if there ever was one, and yet I started one in my freshman year of high school, the PolyGraphs. It’s always the highlight of my week, and it seems to still be going well.
I know that the idea of starting a club seems daunting. It was for me. If you’re interested, though, I say give it a shot! There’s a lot of fun to be had and potential friends to make, not to mention that you get to write with a bunch of other people.
So here are some things that I’ve learned along the way with my club. Think of them as mistakes I’ve made so you don’t have to 😀
#1: Set up the logistics
This sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re caught up in grand plans for what your group will look like and all the things you’ll do, it’s easy to lose track of all the nuts and bolts that come with setting up a club, like picking a day to hold meetings, how long they should be, and where in the school to hold them. In many school districts, student-run clubs also need a faculty supervisor, so make sure to ask your English teachers if they’d be willing to help out.
#2: Figure out a vision before you start meeting up
I’m going to be real with you: There are a million and one things a creative writing club can do, and there’s no way you’ll be able to do all of them. Me and the PolyGraphs knocked around plenty of lofty missions, like publishing a journal and holding lots of contests to spread the love of written words, before finally deciding our main goal was to help each other become more confident writers and workshop each other’s pieces.
Having a mission statement can help you understand what you want the club to look like, and if things start to crash and burn, having it could help the club get itself together again.
#3: Have snacks there
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF FREE FOOD. Seriously. Every week, at least one person comes into our meeting just because they saw that we had brownies or fruit leather. Sometimes they stay, sometimes they don’t, but they’re sure going to tell their friends that we exist, and as long as people are coming to see what the club is up to, we’re good. Plus, after a long day of school, everyone in the club probably could use a bite to eat.
#4: Be as consistent as possible
Nobody likes a club that barely ever meets! Try to make the club’s meetings fairly regular, but don’t overdo it. Some people might be able to hold a writing club multiple days a week, but I can only manage once a week, some people might hold a meeting every other week. All are fine.
Also, wild changes in how the meetings are run may turn some people off. A good way to keep this from happening is to elect club officers or get everyone involved in the organization of the club so that no single person is doing all the work.
#5: Stockpile prompt ideas
You might want to clear out your phone space, because you’ll want to screenshot any good writing prompts you come across on social media or the web. It’s also really good to use themes that focus on certain aspects of writing, such as character or mood.
And the concepts don’t even have to be from the internet – Rory’s Story Cubes were a lifesaver for me last year, and simply getting everyone to shout out random words or phrases (like pandas, Iceland, and “wubba lubba dub dub”) and write something using all of them can make for some interesting pieces of work.
#6: Remember to have fun with it!
School is tough, guys. Things will happen. Things get to us all the time. In my experience, the best clubs are the ones that can make you feel good after a hard day, and if you’re getting furious about how someone forgot their poem to workshop or didn’t bring the banana bread they promised to make, you might need to take a step back and ask yourself, am I having fun with this club anymore? If the answer is that the group hasn’t been fun or helpful for your writing in a while, it’s okay to bow out. Find something that is fun.
If you love the club but your schedule is making more of a burden than a release, it’s okay to take a step back and rejoin once things get easier. Ideally, the club should be able to go on without you there.
If it’s just a temporary thing and you really enjoy the club, keep going! Ish happens, and that shouldn’t stop you from having a good time at the end of the day.
Are any of you guys part of any writing clubs? Have you started one? Tell us about your experience in the comments! 🙂Log in or Register to save this content for later.